By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
At the May 4th meeting, Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors spent an hour discussing potential redistricting scenarios. They did not reach a conclusion, but did advance the process considerably.
The Board made two very key decisions:
· There will be either five or seven supervisors, eliminating the possibility of tie votes killing any given motion; and,
· Lake Monticello will be spilt into at least two, and possibly three districts.
The Lake Monticello decision is very significant. For the past ten years, Lake Monticello residents, which account for about forty percent of the county’s population, have been able to vote for two at large supervisors.
These two at large supervisors meant that Lake Monticello residents were able to vote twice for a supervisor every four years, while the rest of the county would vote only once. All of the redistricting scenarios under consideration currently break Lake Monticello into two, and potentially three separate supervisor districts.
This will diminish the Lake’s influence on county’s politics, but according to one well-placed source, the Lake’s political leadership (an elected Board of Directors) seems to have been most reluctant to exercise that influence in recent years. Any realignment will combine Lake residents with those outside the gated community.
The most significant growth in the county over the past ten years has occurred in the northwestern quadrant of the county. The five-district scenario under consideration would add portions of Lake Monticello to an expanded Palmyra district, giving the northwest quadrant two seats. The seven-seat scenario would add a third seat to the quadrant.
Supervisors seemed inclined to go to seven seats in the discussion. Some members obviously wanted to preserve colleagues seats, as well as other elected and appointed officials, most notably Ms. Camilla Washington, a current school board member who conceivable could be shifted to another district.
Supervisor Shawn Kenney (Columbia) cautioned supervisors to think of the good of the citizens of the county and not current incumbents.
Any decision by the Board, expected after a public hearing in June, will have to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice before it can be implemented.
William Des Rochers serves as Free Enterprise Forum’s Fluvanna County Field Officer. The Free Enterprise Forum is a privately funded public policy organization covering Albemarle, Charlottesville, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson county as well as the City of Charlottesville. If you find this update helpful, please consider financially supporting these efforts. More information about the organization and how to donate can be found at www.freeenterpriseforum.org